The North Face Super Zephyrus Hoodie
This is the second hoodie of this ilk that I’ve owned and instantly became my favourite. First off, it fits perfectly. I’m 6 foot 5 and am fairly used to sleeves that ride up my forearms when I stretch my arms out. These don’t. Not only that, but if you use the thumb loops too the sleeves don’t even pull tight. The body of the jacket is big enough to act as an outer layer – this is how I’ve been using it by and large – but snug enough to sit well as a mid layer when necessary – which I’ve been doing more the last week as the weather has cooled off. Last week we had some pretty heavy rain so I took the opportunity to get out in it and check its waterproofness. I was impressed. It’s no 4 season monster, but it kept me nicely dry on an hour’s walk in really heavy drizzle. The only noticeable wetness was in the base of the two outside pockets where the water had effectively drained to. You’ll see from the video in the review that it is composed of a number of different panels of material, the most noticeable of which are the fleecy body and arm length sections from the wrist, to the arm pit and down to the waist. These certainly make the thing more breathable, but the slight downside is the fact that you can feel the wind coming in if you reach your arm up and expose the panel. That said this has happened only once, whilst sat eating a sandwich on a boulder, in the last two weeks when I have been wearing it every day. Basically we spend most of our time with our arms down which is a very effective way of keeping the material from being exposed to the wind. When climbing and reaching up the incoming cold is more than countered by the warmth generated by the actual climbing so the system works pretty well. I guess I wouldn’t recommend it as a jacket to wear for security guards or anybody standing around a lot, but it’s perfect if you are active. The hood it great, but it does flap about in the wind. I suppose that when it’s windy I should wear it, but unless it’s really cold I tend to keep my head un-wrapped. It’s possible to tuck it inside the collar, but this does cause an usightly bulge. Great that it fits inside a helpet though. Also nice touch that the pockets are high enough to be accessible over a harness and / or rucksack belt. My only real issue with it is the zip. It’s a really fiddly one so I would recommend that you test it out in the shop before buying and make sure you get a smooth running one.
That’s all the functional stuff. On to the look of the thing. My model is the green one. It’s drawn more complimentary comments from people than most of my other outdoor kit combined, and that’s just in two weeks! I actually had a friend the other day in the pub ask me to take it off so he could try it on. We then spent ten minutes discussing the pros and cons of panelled jackets.
It’s retailing at £160 which is reasonable. Not an absolute bargain, but affordable at the same time.